CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James scored 29 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Orlando Magic for a 13th straight game, 104-79 on Saturday night.
The Cavaliers’ lead reached 31 points in the third quarter of their third win over the Magic this season – and it wasn’t even the most lopsided matchup. On Dec. 11, Cleveland led by as many as 40 in a 111-76 rout.
The Cavaliers never trailed and went ahead for good after the teams exchanged baskets to begin the game. Orlando coach Scott Skiles, who called Friday’s loss at Washington embarrassing, needed a timeout less than five minutes into Saturday’s game. The Cavaliers jumped ahead 19-4 and led 29-9 late in the first quarter.
James was 11 of 18 from the field with five rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes. Kyrie Irving, playing his fifth game since returning from a broken left kneecap, scored 13 points while Kevin Love added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Tristan Thompson scored 10 points with 12 rebounds as none of Cleveland’s starters played the fourth quarter.
Orlando’s starters were held to 20 points. Aaron Gordon scored a team-high 11 points while rookie center Mario Hezonja and Shabazz Napier both added 10.
The lopsided loss led to several more low moments for the Magic. Orlando fouled Cleveland’s 3-point shooters five times. James’ 3-pointer gave Cleveland a 44-17 lead midway through the second, which was followed by Orlando committing an offensive foul while inbounding the ball.
Cleveland built a 46-17 lead and was ahead 55-32 at halftime. James’ 3-pointer late in the third quarter pushed the lead to 79-49.
James moved into 21st place on the all-time assist list with 6,477, passing Nate Archibald.
Magic: Evan Fournier scored nine points to lead Orlando’s starters. Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic scored four apiece, Channing Frye had three and Elfird Payton was scoreless. … The Magic last defeated Cleveland on Nov. 23, 2012.
Cavaliers: Cleveland’s only home loss came against Washington on Dec. 1 … Irving was 17 of 17 from the foul line for the season before missing in the second quarter. … J.R. Smith’s 3-pointer in the third quarter moved him past Nick Van Exel (1,528) for 22nd place on the all-time.
Magic: visit Detroit on Monday.
Cavaliers: host Toronto on Monday.
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